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China's Lunar New Year travelers impeded by heavy snow

Due to icy conditions, 12 million of 30 million migrant workers in the Chinese province of Guangdong were unable to return home.
By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |   Feb. 3, 2016 at 2:13 PM
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BEIJING, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- China's largest annual migration event involving nearly 3 billion trips is off to a slow start – as snow stranded at least tens of thousands of people planning to return home for the Lunar New Year.

Heavy snowfall was to blame for the disruption in public transportation in southern China, and the delay left about 100,000 people stranded at a rail station in Guangzhou, the BBC reported.

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The Lunar New Year is one of the most important holidays on the Chinese calendar, and China's migrants, numbering in the hundreds of millions, make the annual trek to their hometowns from jobs in major coastal cities like Guangzhou, where the country's booming manufacturing sector is located.

But inclement weather put a damper on travel plans beginning Monday – people taking the trip home a week ahead of Feb. 8, the Chinese New Year.

On Monday night, 100,000 people were grounded at the main train station in Guangzhou, The New York Times reported, quoting a local newspaper the Southern Metropolis Daily.

There were no reports of accidents or injuries, despite the huge crowds and the long waits.

By Tuesday, more than 20 trains were delayed, but the number of people waiting for their ride had dropped to 22,500 by afternoon, according to city officials.

Due to icy conditions, 12 million of 30 million migrant workers in the Chinese province of Guangdong were unable to return home.

The BBC reported central China has been affected heavily by one of the coldest winters in recent years.

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